Convinced they had cracked the code of the cork screw, Bridgestone arrived at the US GP with a single compound tire. Relying on data from last year’s GP, the tire manufacturer was only expecting a marginal variance in tire temperature between the left and right sides of their racing slicks. As such, they did not develop an asymetrical tire compound like they did for the Catalan GP.
As we now well know from the high-sides of Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo, as well as the plethora of riders that ended up in the gravel that week, this single-compound design wasn’t up to the task of handling the track that many riders described as “one big turn”.
For the US GP, the weekend’s conditions were supposed to be similar to those found at the Mugello and Assen this year. For this season, Bridgestone has created a compound that works over a broader range of temperatures than last year. Figuring that since the tires held up at these other tracks under similar conditions, the compound mixture would once again work here at Laguna Seca.
Obviously Bridgestone was wrong, and they haven’t ruled out using an asymetrical compound mixture for next year’s GP.
Seca poses a unique problem to tire manufacturers. Not only does it have a varied elevation, but it also has few right-hand turns. Conversely, the left-hand turns constantly birage the riders, heating the left-side of the tire to extreme temperatures. With the right-hand turns are spaced out, the tire has the opportunity to cool on one side, while remaining hot on the other.
With an asymetric design, Bridgestone would in theory be able to use different compounds to compensate for the varied use and temperature sweets spots created by the Californian track. If used in 2010, hopefully we won’t see so many rider crash, which would make for a better racing experience. Unless you’re a closet NASCAR fan and secretly come to the GP for its crashes.